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Affected Communities Cry for Safe Drinking Water-Nimba

New Yekepa Town Drinking Water Site Yarmien Dist. Safe drinking water and bad roads remain major challenges for citizens of the 18 Towns within Yarmien Administrative District.

Yarmien is one of the most affected districts in the operational zone of Arcelor Mittal in Nimba County as community dwellers fetched running water for drinking. According to the Citizens, there is no town in the Arcelor Mittal operational area that can boost of a single hand pump constructed or rehabilitated by the company rather endless suffering being imposed on them.

Speaking to New Dawn Nimba Correspondent in Yarmien Towns, Kinnon, Karla, New Yekepa, Gbeyelee Yekepa, Gbarpa among others on August 20, 2016 the citizens expressed disappointment over Arcelor Mittal engagement with the people of Yarmien Administrative District and Liberia at large.

During an exclusive interview with cross- sections of Community residents in Yarmien, they did not point at any development initiative undertaken by Arcelor Mittal rather they conveyed a message of disappointment and frustration to the Liberian people.

‘’We can only applaud and appreciate the Liberia Red Cross Nimba Chapter, ZOA , Advancing Youth Program or AYP for providing them few hand pumps and educating some community dwellers through adult illiteracy program’’.

The citizens maintained that during the operation of the Liberia America Mining Company or LAMCO, they felt the total impact of the company by grading their farm to-market roads twice a year and offer free safe drinking water to the people in Yarmien Administrative District, but with AML it is like they have been neglected.

Few towns out of the 18 towns of in Yarmien have one hand pump, the rest have none. Karla is the smallest town within Yarmien District with the estimated population of hundred people, while the rest of the 17 towns have an estimated population between 2800 to 90000.

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Those few hand pumps were described by the citizens as defective because according them it was constructed since 2010.  It has been more than a week since the Arcelor Mittal Communication Direction Liberia Hester Barker Pearson, was contacted for a comment on the citizen’s claim. She is yet to respond.

However, Nimba County Authority headed by Superintendent Fong G.Zuaglay on Saturday, August 28, 2016 told the people in Yarmien that the new school buildings in Kinnon, Lugehbeyee, Gboden and Bololewee which were all constructed by the county administration are AML funding project through the County Social Development and part of their 25 percent affected community benefits  Superintendent Zuaglay explained that the Earth moving equipment bought for the county by the past administration, were parts of the affected community money, a decision he said came from the people of Nimba not President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Zuaglay indicated that his administration is prioritizing roads because roads remain the County major challenged. Meanwhile Zuaglay has assured the people of Yarmien District of major roads rehabilitation during the coming dry season.He, however, declined comments on the safe drinking water facility stressed by the citizens.

By: Allen P. Lablah, Sanniquellie, Nimba-Edited By Othello B. Garblah

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